Reconstructing Reconstruction

For over 230 years the genius of our founders' self-correcting democracy has expanded the original narrow voting franchise from white males to blacks to women and to eighteen year-olds. The Democratic Party has done some self correcting as well. Now once again we have to protect and defend voting rights Americans won with their blood, sweat and tears.

As early as tomorrow, North Carolina's new GOP-led General Assembly is preparing to introduce a bill requiring citizens to present a photo ID to vote. WRAL reported on Friday:

An analysis by the State Board of Elections obtained Friday by WRAL News shows that at least 700,000 registered voters in the state don't have a driver's license or photo ID issued by the Division of Motor Vehicles. Records for another 300,000 people need further checking to determine if they have a license, elections officials said.

Speaking truth to power

It's a hackneyed expression, but its value hasn't diminished through use. With painful elections behind us and an uncertain future ahead, speaking truth to power is one of the few tools we have to shape that future. And it won't be easy. A convincing message needs solid, verifiable research, with analysis backing it up, and the determination to keep pounding that message out even when it seems none are paying attention. A passage I read recently spells it out nicely.

There's no surer path out of the wilderness than to keep making their arguments sharply, forcefully and with the well-being of ordinary folks uppermost in mind.

Republicans could skim half a billion dollars from public schools

In a move to fulfill their campaign promises to gut public education in North Carolina, Republican leaders are indeed pushing ahead with HB41, a half-billion-dollar giveaway to for-profit, religious and private schools.

Rep. Rick Glazier, a leading Democrat on education issues and a former school board chairman from Fayetteville, called the bill a direct assault on public schools. "I don't think taxpayers ought to be involved in funding private schools, nor do I think the taxpayers want their money going there," Glazier said. "It is not the constitutional mandate of the state to fund the private schools."

ACTION ALERT: Cancel your accounts with Chase

If you have a credit card with Chase or do business with it in any way, here's some advice--cancel your account. Back in December, Irving Picard, the trustee for Bernie Madoff's assets, sued Chase for knowing that Madoff was a fraud and doing nothing to stop it. The suit was unsealed on Thursday--and based on its revelations, this is one company that doesn't deserve our business.

The suit alleges that Chase had evidence that suggested Madoff was engaging in illegal activity as far back as the 1990s and knew beyond all doubt as early as 2006 that Madoff was a fraud--and didn't do a damn thing about it. Earlier today on dKos, I called for Chase to be broken up. But the first step in punishing these guys is for us to cut off our business with them.

Naive Democrat co-sponsors voucher bill

Via Binker's Capital Beat:

Brandon said he supports public schools and wants to make sure the tax credit won’t hurt public schools funding.

“And so this allows us to at least get in the conversation, maybe, as long as other side … protects public schools in addition to this,” Brandon said.

Have you been living under a rock, Marcus? Not only has the "other side" not lifted a finger to protect public schools or the estimated 6,000 teachers about to be fired, they're actively pursuing the dissolution of said schools, and this bill is a big part of that pursuit.

The other health care battle

Suffering from free market flu:

Aetna and the UNC Health Care System are fighting over how much the insurer will pay for services. About 8,000 Aetna members are caught in the middle.

Unless there's a last-minute settlement, the dispute will force Aetna members to switch to a non-UNC doctor or facility, or pay much higher "out-of-network" costs.

As you can imagine, several of the commenters blame this on Obamacare, even though this kind of thing has been going on for years. But I see at least two facets of the new law that would help patients in this situation: The removal of pre-existing conditions and exchange shopping. What say you?

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